Help wanted: the next generation of manufacturing workers

May 1, 2018

The dearth of skilled labor is an increasingly common lament heard from manufacturers of all stripes. It’s not a sudden or inflated complaint. According to recent data provided by the Manufacturing Institute (the Institute, or MI), an affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) based in Washington, D.C., 364,000 manufacturing jobs are going unfilled. …

Fabric graphics dazzle outdoors

April 1, 2018

Branding has become a major fixation. From people who carefully curate their social media postings to large corporations with entire brand-focused departments and everything in between, it seems as if everyone is intent on cementing public perception of their brands. And although we’ve all likely encountered individuals who are obsessed with their “personal brand,” for …

Tarp and truck cover manufacturers stand at the ready with products designed to keep loads secure and drivers safe

March 1, 2018

Fabric truck covers, side curtains and tarping systems are enjoying increased attention from an industry looking for advanced solutions to help keep fleets rolling along more efficiently, safely and economically. Several factors are fueling this interest. For one thing, drivers are getting older, says Vincent Merlot Jr., CEO/owner of Merlot Vango® Tarping Solutions Inc., a …

Fabric performance tested and approved

February 1, 2018

That we live in a litigious society is evident to anyone who has spent even a little time in front of the television, where commercials touting the services of personal injury or product failure attorneys are pervasive reminders about how precarious life can be. Consumers have become ever more demanding in their expectations of what …

On the march

December 1, 2017

For several years the U.S. military market has been characterized by base closures and troop drawdowns, which has had an admittedly dampening effect on the need for and spending on military textiles. The United States isn’t the only geographic market for these products, nor are these textiles limited to just our military; purchasers are found …

Biomimetics: Fabrics borrow from nature to solve problems

October 31, 2017

For most people, arriving home from a hike covered in burrs would likely cause aggravation. But for George de Mestral, the burrs became an inspiration. Curious about how they clung so stubbornly to his clothes, the Swiss electrical engineer put them under a microscope, which revealed hundreds of “hooks” that attached to anything with a …

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Closing the loop: long-term sustainability strategies for textile manufacturers

July 1, 2017

Textile manufacturers are deploying sustainability strategies and forming partnerships to green up products and processes, helping manufacturers meet the requirements of even the most eco-concerned customers—and getting a good start on the circular economy of the future. For most manufacturers, eco-friendly, sustainable products are becoming a competitive necessity. And as concern over environmental issues has …

Recycling and repurposing used fabrics and scraps

About five years ago, Scott Massey, president of Awning Cleaning Industries/APCO Products (and a member of IFAI’s board of directors), decided to expand his business reach in an earth-friendly way. His company has always had an environmental bent, since well-maintained fabrics stay out of landfills longer. Still, even these fabrics eventually need replacing, resulting in …

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Making a mark

May 1, 2017

As the interest in and use of digital textile printing expands, wide-format printers have become essential players, opening up new and profitable opportunities for specialty fabricators. Wide-format digital printing is expanding exponentially, spurred by advancements in printer, ink and fabric technology. Deployed for all manner of products—apparel, décor, banners, murals, signage, upholstery, wallpaper, vehicle wraps …

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Game on

March 1, 2017

A competitive mind-set is what manufacturers of high-tech fabrics and fabric products say is powering demand for their high-performance solutions.  When you think about high-tech sports and recreation products designed to help athletes hone the competitive edge, equipment rather than fabric likely springs to mind first, but this reaction is behind the times—fabrics have evolved to …